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tv   Book Discussion  CSPAN  August 10, 2014 3:45pm-4:16pm EDT

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more information. >> here's a look at some books being published this week. frank miniter reports on gun technology and argues anti-gun lobbyists are deterring the implementation of innovation in "the future of the gun." british investigative reporter nick davies lays out his findings on the news of the world phone hacking scandal in "hack attack: the inside story of how the truth caught up with rupert murdoch." gail gutradt reports on kids living with or orphaned by hiv/aids in the book "in a rocket made of ice." sean mcfate who formerly worked for an international security service in africa provides an inside look at the world of military contractors and how they're becoming a greater part of the u.s. military. david eimer, a former china correspondent for the sunday telegraph, examines the social and political landscape of
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china's remote regions in "the emperor far away: travels at the edge of china." and in "blood aces," doug swanson, investigative project editor at the "dallas morning news", recounts how the late casino owner, benny binion, helped shape current day las vegas. look for these titles in bookstores this coming week and watch for the authors in the near future on booktv and on >> starting now on booktv, peter finn talks about the publishing history of boris pasternak's dr. zhivago. the manuscript of the book -- which was banned in the soviet union because of its critical depiction of the 1917 revolution -- was smuggled out of the country in 1956 and published widely around the world. the cia, recognizing the ideological value of the book, published a russian-language version and smuggled it back into the soviet union where it was sold on the black market and became an underground hit. this is about half an hour.
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>> hi. it's a great pleasure today to introduce a distinguished writer. as you have, no doubt, read from his biography, he's from ireland, but he does speak good english. [laughter] i'm not going to tell you what's on his biography, because you can read that. but, you know, what we have in these luncheons is a writer who speaks about a recently-published book. his book, actually, isn't out yet. it'll be out shortly. but there are reviews of it out there. and i think it is very interesting to find a subject in which literature has become a tool of intelligence activity. and that's what his book is about. and i would like to read a short paragraph to you. there's a welcome back site out which says there are eight books
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that you should read this summer, and peter friendship's book is one -- finn's book is one of them. and this is what it says about it. a work of deep historical research that reads a little like -- [inaudible] this is the back story of the foreign publication of boris pasternak's dr. si having duo, and it bears its multiple burdens lightly. a sideways biography of pasternak, a psychological history of soviet russia, a powerful argument for the book as literature, an entry into the too-small canon of the cia's role in shaping culture. in new reporting on the agency's distribution of the book behind enemy lines, the authors show how both sides in the cold war used literary prestige as a weapon without resorting to cheap moral equivalency. this is a fascinating story to me. i've never seen another article
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or another work which actually describes the way that intelligence activities are able to use culture -- and in this particular case literature -- as a tool in the cold war. so without further ado, i'd like peter finn to come up and tell you about his book himself. [applause] >> thank you for inviting me. i really appreciate the opportunity to speak to you. and in early september 1958, copies of a russian-language edition of dr. zhivago
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>> the cia, working with dutch intelligence, was behind this publication which was printed by a distinguished house in the hague. the agency saw brussels as an ideal place to distribute the book because an unusually large
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number of soviet citizens -- some 16,000 -- had on obtained visa to visit the worlds fair at a r5 00-acre site just northwest of central brussels. 42 nations including the u.s. and the soviet union, and for the first time the vatican, participated. the agency assumed that the dutch publishing house, which specialized in slavic-language books, was about to get the rights to the russian language version of dr. zhivago and that this edition would be passed off as a nearly run. there was good reason for this. the publishing house itself also thought it would get the rights from milan for the executive who agreed to print zhivago, this was simply a very profitable and early sale. even though he knew that the
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whole thing was fishy and almost certainly involved intelligence operatives. the deal was not finalized, however, and the cia edition unexpectedly became a pirate one. about 1100 copies were printed. that screw-up sparked immediate speculation about what was behind the printing and the rumors continued for decades. "der spiegel", the german magazine, noted almost immediately in 1958 that one of the volunteers at the vatican pavilion was, quote, or associated with a militant american cultural and propaganda organization which goes under the name of committee for a free europe. a new york times book columnist wondered aloud who was behind the russian edition of dr. zhivago and said coyly, the answer was, quote: classified. on november 15, 1958, the cia was first linked by name to the
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printing in the national review bulletin, a newsletter supplement for contributors to the national review founded by william f. buckley jr. in moscow, it was reported, these books were passed hand to happened as avidly as a copy of fannie hill in a college dormitory. the speculation continued for years, some of it quite fanciful, that british intelligence forced down a plane in malta that was carrying the italian publisher from moscow and mi6 officers secretly photographed the manuscript of dr. zhivago which was in his luggage. the only problem was he had only been to moscow once, and when he did pick it up in 1956, it was in west berlin, and flights from berlin to milan don't travel over malta. it was also speculated that the cia published the novel in
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russian to satisfy a rule of the swedish academy that a work must be published in its original language to qualify for the nobel prize in literature. but the academy has said that there is no such rule, and there is no copy of the cia edition in its library or archives. indeed, an interim cia accounting -- internal cia accounting of where the books were sent after they were printed in the netherlands show none went to stockholm. the still others argue that the cia's role was limited and this was all great work of organizations the agency sponsored. bottom line, there was lots of speculation but very few facts. i came to the story in moscow in 2007 where i was a correspondent for "the washington post". i wrote a story about a russian writer's claim that the cia published dr. zhivago in russian to win the nobel prize for
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pasternak. as i noted, that was ip accurate. but at the time -- inaccurate. but at the time i began to read about pastor name and dr. zhivago, the decade pasternak spent writing it, his deeply ambivalent relationship with the soviet state and the strange bond between him and stalin each though they only spoke once and on the phone. his messy private life. he had, essentially, two families, and the state never imprisoned pasternak, but they did strike at him indirectly by putting his mistress in the gulag twice. the early hostile reaction to the novel from the state publisher and literary -- [inaudible] pasternak's decision to give the manuscript to a young italian, sergio deangelo who worked at radio moscow and who also worked as a scout for new books. the efforts of the kremlin in con junction with the italian communist party to intimidate
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both the author and the publisher stopped publication in milan and get the book back. the extraordinary correspondence between a few cher knellly and pasternak. he broke with the italian communist party of which he was a leading member and financier and was the first publisher of dr. zhivago which appeared in translation in italy in november 1957. it was a commercial and critical success helped in part by the fact that the soviets had banned it, something that was noted in almost all the press coverage in the west. indeed, i think there's a case to be made that if the soviet union had simply allowed a small print run and made no fuss at all, dr. zhivago would have drawn a small, elite audience in the west and not have become the international bestseller it did.
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because its sales were really quite extraordinary. in its first year in the united states, '58 into 1959, it sold nearly a million copies. for a book, that is -- let me tell you -- impressive. [laughter] and publication followed in 1958 in france, germany, britain and the united states but not in the soviet union, obviously, and not in russian. in october 1958 pasternak won the nobel prize in literature. the kremlin treated the award as an anti-receive yet provocation -- soviet provocation and forced pasternak to renounce it. the elderly author, he was now 68 years of age, was subject to an extraordinary campaign of vilification. and described as a traitor and a
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judas in the pages of pravda and by the kremlin leadership. pasternak was driven to brink of suicide. he died 18 months later, and some people -- including his son -- have said that his treatment contributed to his death. pasternak's funeral -- an extraordinary scene which we describe in the book -- was attended by a huge crowd and, in effect be, was one of the first public demonstrations in the sow sow -- soviet union. at his grave site people loudly proclaimed him a democrat. all of that is, essentially, the arc of our story from the creation of the novel to pasternak's death. it is a story that is partly about the cia but mostly about pasternak and dr. zhivago. it was a story that hadn't been told as a single narrative in english at least since robert
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conquest the pasternak affair in 1969. an enormous amount of material has emerged since the end of the cold war, including central committee and other soviet files and the memoirs, diaries and correspondence of participants in these events. my co-author, petra, who is from the netherlands and i were introduced by a dutch writer after my be "post" story on the cia and zhivago appeared. she had previously written about the dutch printing and a retired dutch intelligence officer who was involved in that operation spoke to her about the role of the bvd and the role of the cia. and that was the first semi-official acknowledgment of the agency's participation in this. petra was also a slavist by training. she spoke russian, she lived in st. petersburg all of which helped her absorb the russian material about pasternak and the
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novel and work in the russian archives. we agreed that the back story of the novel was worth telling on its own, but we also thought that any book should try and bring something fresh and original to the table. the obvious outstanding question was the role of the cia. i first approached the agency in 2009 after i returned to d.c. from moscow. i pulled together what had been written about the agency's involvement and the names of those who were suspected of working on printing and prepared a memo about the potential book that i wanted to write. ..
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i could potentially look at the documents and unredacted form, but then that would require me to live the agency to review those relating to the operation. that was not an option i was willing to consider although other writers have done so and i can see some situations where i might. we've said chose to get them in redacted form and i was able to piece out many of the names we needed for the story from other public records in all of this is described in our footnote. i'm very grateful that historical records division than
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the other part of the agency will not produce the list of documents or the possibility of cooperation between the agency and scholars in the journalist unhistorical work. the documents for over 50 years old. some secrets are held forever, many need not be. it goes without saying the zeus history and mystery of the officers in operation are part of our broader history. and that includes the boat program that helped the cia underwrite the transportation of million of books and journals that were sent across. literature including hemingway, but also books on art history, economic, psychology, sociology. it was brought by one of the participants is a marshall plan for the mind. deserves the full history. i got the cia document in the
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regular mail to my home in northern virginia in august august 2012. it was a thrilling moment here goes most striking about the material does the enthusiasm of the officers ready in about dr. dr. zhivago and internal memos. here is john mori come the soviet russian division chief writing in july 1930 i-8 to frank wisner in the printing operation was arty underway. quote, humanistic message that every person is entitled to a private life and deserves respect as a human being dither the extent of his political loyalty or contributions to the state poses a fundamental challenge to soviet ethic of sacrifice to the individual to the communist system. there is no call to revolt against the regime in the novel. at the heresy which dr. zhivago
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preaches, political passivity is fundamental. pasternack suggests that the small unimportant people who remain passive to the regime's demands for act of participation and emotional involvement are superior to the political activists favored by the system. further, he dares hint that society might function better without these fanatics. i don't know what kind of memos you all saw what you are at the cia, but that strikes me as a pretty extraordinary one. there are many other mammals like this, which received death -- which suggests a novel cut a close reading at cia headquarters. requote them in the book and they can now be read in redacted form at there is also an emphasis on secrecy to protect pasternack.
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the photograph manuscripts or is provided by british intelligence which insisted there be no overt american involvement in printing. in case it could be used to tear pasternack, that was followed and another from one the british translators of dr. zhivago, church cat prophet told the consul in munich in a message that was forwarded to moscow that pasternack had recently noted in a private conversation with one of his french trained leaders that he didn't want the book published in russian by u.s. funded groups or in the united states. they had no anti-american implication. it is just a matter of personal safety for pasternack. the ideal site to the consulate that the book be published in a small european country. it turned out that the one
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chosen was the netherlands. others involved such to end a of the sweden. i won't go into the details of leading up to dr. chicago's publication in russian in the netherlands because i hope some of you actually read the book. let me just say that the first publisher at the agency contract did with was a charming extra see us old warrior who is utterly unreliable when it came to keeping secret into the consternation of some at cia headquarters, the operation threatened to become some kind of theater of the absurd. that led the agency to return to the dutch intelligence service. the cia decided after the awarded the nobel prize to do a second edition of dr. zhivago. there is some lessons to be
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learned from the first. the mouton book was too bulky and involving outsiders is nothing but trouble. the second edition is a miniature paperback that came in one and two volumes so it could be easily smuggled inside a man's suit or treasure pocket as one cia memo put it. inside the government there is also a strong sense that the u.s. should not overplay its hand during the novell crisis and the grotesque treatment of pasternack, which is playing out in newspapers across the world and shocking people including in countries friendly to the soviet union. instead, officials in washington relished what they saw as a propaganda coup is entirely manufactured in moscow. i mean in state department and the senior staff of john foster dulles to me he was told, quote, communist treatment of pasternack was one of the worst blunders. it is on par in terms of embarrassment and damage to them
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but the brutality in hungary. by july 1959, 8 months after the novell crisis about 9000 miniature copies have been printed in washington and the printing was attributed to a sick vicious of the same house in paris. a russian group in germany essentially said it was behind the printing and not secret basically held until now as it was widely believed the miniature edition was in fact the work of emigrate. the book was passed out by agents to contact the soviet officials and tourists in the last. 2000 copies were set aside for dissemination to soviet and other communist events at the world festival of youth and students for peace and friendship, which was held in vienna in late july and early august 5th 1959. it was the first as she expressed all all chavez said the soviet bloc and attracted
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thousands this evidence for the developing world. all of the festivities and costs are underwritten by the soviet union. the festival is personally supervised by the head of the tbg alexander shell up in who it had previously president of the international union of students. the cia underwrite the costs of sending young americans to the festival, basically to disrupt it by having them asked and debated or soviet and communist counterpart. a colleague at the post, walter pincus, who was there described it as a college weekend with russians. [laughter] among the activities in vietnam was the distribution of votes in many languages. 30,000 in 14 languages, including 1984 animal farm apart from the russian edition of dr. zhivago was available in
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polish, german, czech come a hungarian and chinese at the festival. the novel had been published in taiwan and the free europe committee flew in 50 copies for the 400 strong chinese delegation. which proved to be completely impenetrable. some of the chinese would do and talk to their soviet and eastern european comrades, said the americans found it somewhat difficult to communicate with them. the soviet delegation arrived from budapest in a convoy of buses. it was a blistering hot day and the windows broken. when they reached a vienna and moving slowly through the streets, the buses were swarmed by in the grade and tossed miniature copies of dr. zhivago through the windows. the kgb was obviously aware of these and other rappers to distribute the novel in vienna, yet they prove not to be as
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harsh with the students who picked up the book as one might suspect. one student writing many, many years later in russia said the agents told them, quote, take it, read it, but by no means bring it home. thank you very much. [applause] >> yes, we are going to take as many questions as you would like. ibm not >> well, the novel is available. putin does not worry so much about literature. it is not on his agenda. i have to say that i think dr. zhivago an interest in it has faded in russia. it is no longer on the school
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curriculum. you can find in bookstores, but my co-author, patcher, who teaches at saint petersburg state university, which he asks her students, have you read dr. zhivago, the answer almost always is no. they've read other pieces of russian literature, but zhivago this doesn't seem to be on their radar in the same way. ibm mac >> share, the movie does not form part of our story, but it remains in relevant terms if you adjust for inflation, et cetera, remains one of the best-selling movies of all time. it is usually successful. it brought a whole new group of readers to the book in a popularized zhivago in ways that
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the novel had not. the soviets hated it, i absolutely hated it and it was the end of course. in fact, they protested strongly than the american embassy started having private screenings in the apartments of diplomats in moscow as if this was another american provocation. >> have you decided that there's any enabling and it is not quite >> minimal, but prior to pasternack winning the nobel prize, and in about the three or four months before that, the kremlin was getting notices from sweden from there and see in their friends to pasternack was shortlisted for the prize and
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that they could potentially face an international scandal if he had one since the book remained banned in the soviet union. so two of the literary bureaucrats inside the system wrote a memo proposing that they publish 10,000 copies and circulate them to no one. so they would announce we've published dr. zhivago, but we just been distributed to anyone. bad idea was good. instead they came up with a plan to vilify pasternack and force them to renounce, which they did. pasternak was the first recipient of the nobel prize to be forced to renounce the since i did the same to some german in the 1930s. [inaudible]
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>> i think one of the problems we have is that i first read the book in the 1950s when it was tossed out and i came to work for the cia. but then i had to read again when i discovered the significance of the book. it was so complicated, but nonetheless the cia currently does in fact plan to have more special event related to the book. many of us have been musicians in the field pick the right, place, you can hear me playing. >> thank you very much. appreciate


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